Discussion in 'Brixton' started by editor, Jan 26, 2015.
Pretty sure conversation was post-Millennial
Upcoming: The Save Lambeth Libraries Campaign Invites You to Their National Libraries Day Event This Saturday
Been ploughing through "Cultural Services by 2020" and really don't think the figures for the "Lambeth Community Library Fund" stack up.
First off, where will Lambeth find the £10 million to set it up? Selling off the Minet and Waterloo Library sites won't raise anything like £10 million. The Waterloo site is the more valuable but can't see Lambeth getting more than a couple of million for that. Did a search on commercial property websites just now to check out how much retail units in Lower Marsh are going for - most recent sale is a shop unit with two floors above at 17 Lower Marsh on offer for £1.2 million. Waterloo Library is just a one storey portacabin, no flats above, so can't see it fetching much more.
Second question - how is an endowment fund of £10 million going to generate income sufficient to "provide between £350,000 and £450,000 per year in perpetuity"? To get that the fund would have to generate a return of 3.5% to 4.5% - way above the paltry interest rate I get on my savings. And don't see how the income can be provided "in perpetuity" - if the interest is spent providing revenue grants, then the value of the fund will decline over time in line with inflation.
Really think we need to resist the idea that selling off the family silver (the Minet and Waterloo sites) is a necessary sacrifice because the money raised will allow the other libraries on the hit list to stay open. Totally opposed to selling these sites - we'll never get them back when they've gone - and the money raised will be nothing like £10 million.
Postscript to earlier post
I was at a meeting this evening organised by Waterloo Community Development Group. Very well-attended meeting (50 to 60 people present) which I think reflects the concern locally about the threat to the Waterloo Library. The three local (Labour) councillors were all present, as was John Kerridge, LB Lambeth's Associate Director for Communities, and one of the authors of "Cultural Services for 2020".
Tom Kerridge, when pressed, came up with an estimate for the money that might be raised in the Waterloo and Minet sites were sold - £3 million - which pretty much fits with my guesstimate. We asked where the rest of the £10 million would come from and were told this would be from other Lambeth=owned assets earmarked for sale.
There were hints at the meeting that Lambeth aren't committed to selling the Waterloo and Minet sites - this is just an option up for consideration.
Thinking about this after, occurred to me that the suggestion that the Waterloo and Minet sites could be sold isn't really a serious proposal and was only included to deflect us all from the real issue, the withdrawal of revenue funding to keep our libraries going.
The situation with West Norwood Library now appears to not be so clear cut. It did seem that the Nettlefold Hall project had come off relatively well in the consultation.
The Friends group has now discovered that if Lambeth Council can't find £2m to complete the project, then there is the possibility of asking the private Picturehouse group to manage a 'community library.'
'cos we all know that Picturehouse has a great track record in dealing with staff relationships
Plus why would you volunteer to work in a community library that is being run by a private business?
I've had a little more time now to look at all 22 docs that make up the cultural consultation. It's really difficult to understand precisely the implications for so many services - libraries, indoor sport, outdoor sport, events - everything is jumbled with different services being referenced across various documents.
We've had an attempt at Brixton Buzz to look at each service in particular. We're starting off with libraries.
There is the headline point that the Minet and Waterloo will be sold, and that funding for the Durning, Carnegie and Upper Norwood Libraries will stop.
We also found that a reduced service for Brixton, Streatham and Clapham was considered - this was ruled out as the Council needs to provide this as part of the statutory requirements.
Residents are going to be expected to play a role in staffing the libraries. This is mentioned in terms of 'extended opening hours whilst making savings.'
Another library review is planned for 2018. Tate South (South Lambeth Road) will be the 'hub and spoke' for the north of the borough until then. The 2018 review will look at the future for Tate South. My reading is that it will be the last light shining for libraries in the north of Lambeth whilst the Waterloo is sold. And then?
Buried deep away is the possibility of a library at Brixton Rec:
“An integrated library offer focussing on digitised services will be designed into the refurbishment plans for Brixton Recreation Centre.”
Which does raise questions about the future of Brixton Library at Windrush Square.
'Books in pubs' are suggested as an alternative for Vassall and Tulse Hill.
The Risk Summary documents explains that if all else fails, then turning towards the private sector is a possibility.
Or complete closure.
The only pub I can think of left in Vassal is the Crown and Anchor
Maybe the council can ask Golfrate drop the ridicuous £60k pa rent being asked for the Grosvenor so it can be a pub/library
Like your article.
The point I wanted to raise was this:
The Minet is to be sold off for development - then why are the council also sponsoring an "action group" whose nucleus is Labour ex-councillors to redevelop Carnegie Library as a semi-commercial hub?
I've heard stories about saunas and health centres going in the Carnegie basement. Surely if anything does go into the Carnegie it should be the Lambeth borough archives - it is the only library with enough space.
Here's the BBuzz analysis of indoor leisure as part of the Lambeth Council Cultural Consultation.
Brixton Rec appears safe, although there is still the possibility of a private developer propping up any future improvements.
The Rec is identified as the 'key driver in investment' when it comes to indoor leisure in Lambeth.
The GLL contract is up in 2018. 'Soft testing' will start soon to look at other providers.
Sadly the Lambeth Labour election pledge of 'Free Swimming for Every Resident' is absent.
Thanks for this its very informative. Want to plough through the consultation docs this weekend.
The Rec is , as u say in article, structurally sound. Its the plant that near to ending its life. This will need replacing soon. The Rec has a lot of potential. There is also a lot of unused space.
I am not at all happy with the idea of library services in Rec if they are a replacement for study space lost by selling off libraries.
Unlike libraries so far I do not see Council going down the route of expecting residents to staff leisure centre. Anyway there is already a lot of voluntary or near voluntary work going on in Rec at the moment.
Info on upcoming meetings where questions can be asked to officers and Cllrs.
Another day, another look at one of the many angles lobbed together as part of the Lambeth Council Cultural Consultation. Today it is outdoor leisure.
This is a weird one. There are some very decent points made in the documents that address how to improve the team sports that are played throughout the Lambeth parks.
It is only when you get towards the end of the documentation that you realise that they are asking you about the whole Co-operative Parks Programme, and not just sport.
And they were doing so well...
£9m needs to be found by Lambeth Council to make the Co-op nonsense happen. £9m needs to also be found by residents.
Good luck with that one.
Finally - we've reached the end of the Lambeth Council Cultural Consultation at Brixton Buzz. Today we are looking at events.
The documents state that the Country Show will remain free. The bloody fireworks look likely to be a ticketed event with a year on year evaluation of the event.
New Lambeth Cultural Shows could be set up. These will be smaller events held around eight different areas in the borough. Each location is expected to hold two of these per year.
Parks will continue to be pimped out.
Pretty much Cultural Consultation-ed out to be honest.
I have started reading the Culture2020 docs. There is way to much to get through. Thanks Tricky Skills for the excellent summaries.
The Equalities Impact Assessment is worth a read. On the Minet Library it says (page 24):
So in an area of high deprivation a library will be sold off and replaced with small provision. This does not seem to me to be adequate replacement service for loss of library in an area of high deprivation. I would have thought that the EIA would have taken a harder line on this.
also has useful info on the fate of the arts page 46:
"Decommissioning" is Council speak for ending of the Arts programme. This revealing quote below from EIA of the history of how this was done shows it was controversial decision.
The answer appears to be that the Council will "help" arts find alternative funding: page 20
I do not understand what "network of independent partners" are.
My reading of the EIA is that change in policy on supporting arts will have negative effect on equality issues. Whatever the Council might argue elsewhere.
I just received this , maybe of interest to some of you as it appears to tie in with some of the above.
This Monday evening. R u free 7pm at Streatham Library. It's a public consultation about the future of Lambeth Libraries. Does anyone know about this?
The commissioners think that they can gradually shut down Brixton Library by first bringing the archives there which will greatly reduce the resources and space available to the ordinary public and moving the computers to Brixton Rec. then to totally remove the public Library and put black cultural archives there and turning the new black cultural archives building into a conference centre for people with money.
They think the ordinary people don't know and that it doesn't matter because they think ordinary people don't use the Library anyway. If u can make it it's at Streatham Library at 7pm. The commissioners deliberately are trying to sabotage the public from voicing there opinion by restricting information and notifying the public late about the consultation. They released the date with only 3 days notice.
If you can't make it tell as many people as u can.
I was sent something similar, but I'm very dubious about how they'd get away with closing down the BCA and turning it into an upmarket conference centre.
I am concerned that this idea of using the Rec as substitute study space.
I do no want the Rec used as a way of gettting rid of public libraries.
BCA I notice from the consultation docs will lose its Council funding soon.
Politically moving BCA archives out of the new building must be a non starter. BCA is purpose designed building for the archives.
An update on the Cultural Consultation, via BBuzz.
Friends of Lambeth Libraries have "greeted it with horror."
Brixton Rec Users Group is angry that it wasn't told about the digital library plans for the Rec.
I passed by the Minet Library today and I have to say i'm confused
the whole building is under scaffolding and looks like it's getting a renovation
but why if the council is planning on closing it and who is paying
This is most odd.
Cllr Jane Edbrooke has suggested that the Archives could be shifted to... Brixton Rec
Where did she say that? (In the text you link to)
I think there may be standards for keeping archives - but I believe Minet failed those for years anyway.
If Lambeth hold a "consultation" to decide where to put the archive I think we will definitely have arrived in a New Labour Co-op dystopia. Such a decision ought to rely on expertise of librarians and archivists.
"The work currently taking place around redevelopment in Brixton, including the Brixton Rec and Your New Town Hall gives us a window to create a new home for the archives."
Having read the piece twice. I thinks its this:
So from saying earlier on that Brixton Tate library could be home for archives she is now suggesting that new archives could be part of "regeneration" in 3 possible areas Town Hall, Brixton Rec and Waterloo.
I am now confused. The Culture2020 consultation said Tate Library as a possibility. Now the sites for new archives has widened.
We posted at same time. I agree that is the implication of what she is saying.
What concerns me is that senior Cllr comes out with these idea which are not in the original consultation. Everyone I know who was looking at Culture2020 thought the Council meant the Tate library.
The Council is making up policy as it goes along.
Maybe they have realised that Tate library is not suitable so are now saying it could be other sites.
This is all very unsatisfactory.
And it makes me wonder why I bothered to read 22 documents, and then respond to them.
What's the point when something completely different is then thrown into the equation?
Independent data from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy makes for grim reading for the Lambeth library service. It ranks lowest across most categories when compared to 15 other London authorities, yet the costs are the highest.
It also shows how Lambeth has the lowest number of volunteers. Cllr's Edbrooke's whole vision for the library service is one built on 'co-operative' volunteer labour.
Christ, that is depressing. I think I've been reading "improvment plans" to get Lambeth off the bottom of those league tables for the best part of twenty years.
That's a shit scorecard.
On value for money - the cost per member of staff measure doesnt seem very meaningful. As you note there arent many FT staff and the costs could be skewed by mgmt/supervisor pay. Is there a measure that looks at budget per 000 population for example?
It's hard to tell from the report what the causes of the low scores are. The council consultation is presented (from what I remember - read it a while ago) as solving the problem of "managing with less money" - there wasnt a lot of reflection on the quality of the service.
I thought the comparison or Lambeth to Southwark's scores in the assessment was interesting too - at the Herne Hill hustings someone asked about why Lambeth were cutting Library budgets but Southwark were investing. I'd figure the two boroughs are similar in many respects so find it interesting that they seem to be managing to do so much better on this measure at least.
Cllr Edbrooke is due to update Full Council on the consultation this Wednesday. She is expected to say that the process has been "emotive."
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